Scribble vs Drawing in Contemporary Abstract Painting

Collectors and curators often ask about the scribbles in Komarin paintings and works on paper. There is a curious set of differences between drawing in painting and scribbling in painting. Many people equate scribble with childlike play and there is much truth to that. Children draw and scribble openly, free from the constraints of order and clarity. They may attempt to describe a form of some kind, or more often the scribble will be a kind of energetic release, visual play with crayon or paint or pencil. Cy Twombly, a most respected abstract painter in this country who lived and worked in Rome for many years, used scribble often in his work. Twombly combined his sense of Greek and Roman history with aspects of American abstract expressionism and the free swinging of the brush. The works appear completely unplanned and have terrific energy and beauty. They often seem accidental and allow for a great variety of mark making. A Komarin painting incorporates scribble along with drawing in paintings and works on paper. The drawing often loosely references vessels and hats and common shapes from everyday life, though from to time an alien spacecraft of two will seem to pop up. So that the drawing in initial stages at least may describe consciously or unconsciously the description of “forms in space.”

Goodly Drawn in Orange and Black by Gary Komarin, 2017

Left: Ferragosto III by Cy Twombly, 1961. Right: A child’s scribble.

Scribble in a Komarin painting will be most often unplanned. A Komarin painting will ‘need’ to have a certain amount of mark making to open up the space and bring new life to the drama unfolding. The scribble can be put down/ painted out and put down again. These rhythms have a life of their own as a form is drawn, erased, redrawn and then moved to another part of the canvas. Scribble is play but it also serves a serious function in the making of a Twombly, a Komarin…and those paintings, whether Picasso, Miro, Twombly, or Komarin paintings that combine drawing and painting together in a most organic manner. The scribble swims with the painted forms in a floating sea of activity.




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